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i really thought it might be considered racist. that's not surprising, either, rush. at least lee von belcher did not go to the caribbean with a gallon of viagra. please, spare me go get another divorce and another marriage. "young turks." [ ♪ theme ♪ ] >> good evening i'm eliot spitzer and this is "viewpoint." we have become all too accustomed to gun violence. in recent years despite horrific tragedies, we have lacked the political will to do anything about it. now a suicide has brought it back into the public eye.
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livan belcher murdered the mother of his daughter and shot himself. >> here wrote jason with it lock is what i believe. if he doesn't possess a gun he and sandra perkins would both be alive today. >> half time of a football game was the wrong time to bring up the issue of gun control. wane lapierre accused costas of promoting an anti second amendment agenda. media conglomerates want to ram gun control down throats. those of us who believe in gun control should bring all the pressure we can to where it might make a difference. the white house. when president obama was in
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tough straights he went back and did something. i've been fighting this battle for a long time as attorney general, the governor, now for what i believe in. it's time for president obama to stand up to the bullies of the n.r.a. and gun advocates. no more excuses about protecting votes. now is the time to take a tough stand on oh the issues we believe in. marshall your forces mr. president and bring real change. gun control is necessary and delay means more death and horror. for more on how to make mentionful change on the issue i'm joined by a colorado shooting survivor and now and outreach assistant with the mayor. thank you both for joining us. this issue comes back repeatedly and unfortunately fades into oblivion just as quickly. can you sense in your day to day
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advocacy, day to day since this horrific day over the weekend what has changed? >> i really believe the momentum is in my favor. people are as fed up as bob costas is with the state of affairs, currently. people want change, and they want to see the president lead when it comes to that change. >> you were on this show a couple of months ago actually when i was out in denver, you had just come out with your ad with this unbelievably 30 second powerful ad begging and pleading at some point in the presidential debates for somebody to discuss gun control. you were in that movie theater shot. you look great your life was altered. has the white house responded called you said anything? >> no, not directly, and, you know, that's tough but we're hopeful, really, that we'll be
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able to reach out to them in the next term. >> and then am i right that the argument and maybe i can say this more easily, because as somebody who is in politics, you know the calculus people would run. the penalty says i can't lose, those swing voters will cost me pennsylvania ohio, wisconsin. he got reelected had those voters, but now he doesn't need them. there is no next time. what is the possible rationale? why have they not stood up clearly and said we must deal with this issue? >> i think unfortunately there are other issues like the fiscal cliff that are predominant right now in the national debate, but you know, as i said, you mentioned swing states. legal guns polling most voters trust the president more than mitt romney on the issue of guns so you know you know, i
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think people are just waiting for him to take action. >> it was interesting and when he spoke of that it galvanized. when he spoke about same-sex marriage it shifted public opinion. i for one people that this is an issue ripe for him to take and grab and to move forward on. eric fascinating thing when cob costas used one of the bigger media platforms out there sunday night football, he got a lot of eyeballs, and not necessarily eyeballs who are going to be sympathetic to a gun control issue. i give bob costas a ton of credit. fair or not? >> he said he knew he was going to get criticized. no regrets. he's not going to be run off what he said. it's interesting when you have a sportscaster, both bob costas and jason whitlock.
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that's sad this is an epidemic. i think the mainstream press talk about the politics, i think the mainstream press has basically adopted the n.r.a. slogan of guns don't kill people people do. >> the voices we're hearing from are coming from not where we would expect. do you go pound on the doors of major media organizations and say please talk about this and what response do you get? >> not a particularly receptive one. i think there's a big misconception about how touchy a subject is, you know. the opponents of, you know, bob costas speaking out, they are particularly vocal but don't represent the general american public. >> did you have those numbers and can you give us them? what are the public numbers? >> i asked do you support having
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a background check for every begun pressure, policy that would decrease the number of people killed every single day. 34 americans die every single day from guns. >> say that number again. >> 34 every day. >> 34? that's an amazing number. >> yeah, if nobody acts in the next four years, 48 those people will die. these are murders not suicides. so, when you ask about background checks, for every gun sale, 74% of the n.r.a. gun owners support that. to me, it tells me that the leadership of the n.r.a. is not in line with the meship. >> there is a middle ground here. you don't need to go all the way to where we as advocates would be. there's a middle ground. >> i think that's what freaked out the fox news and right wing about bob costas, 60 second commentary about gun violence in
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our society, that's what freaked them out. they don't want a common sense discussion about violence. >> there's nothing more terrifying to the fanatic then reasoned common sense. you're the media raven, why does the mainstream media to use that awful phrase, oh void it as an issue? >> i think it's intimidation. you mentioned that statistic, 34 people a day. 34,000 people a day die from gun related violence. 18,000 gun suicides. that is never included after the damagety in aurora. why are shows statistics not in almost every article about aurora or any other gun massacre. why isn't there simple context? the press has sort of shied away
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from it. they don't treat it as any sort of social issue it's a crime issue, everything is a crime issue, a crime scene and 48 hours, we're on to the next one. >> when you look at the congress and you have john boehner as the speaker, is there any hope that he would even consider a gun control or is this the republican party in washington right now? >> i think you have to go about it the right way. you have to build that public support and marshall the public support that already exists and make it clear to leaders like john boehner that in the american public, even among his constituents, his party days, gun owners, that that support for example exists. >> frank luntz i guess the go to guy. the brady bill was perhaps the high point of this effort, so the attempted assassination of a president, and issuing of this press secretary to galvanize public opinion.
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you think of aurora, how could that not have brought us to this point? >> the sad part of aurora is part of the long list of sort of the workplace or public shooting rampages again i, you know, the press coverage in 48 hours for a week and then they disappear. the problem with the john boehner experience again they respond to fox news. if they can't even handle bob costas having a one minute conversation or dialogue about gun violence, then the republican party sees that. they see that radical approach and realize we can't even touch it. >> bob costas is hardly the image of a wild-eyed one. >> they don't want a public debay and certainly not on prime time during the nfl and certainly not by someone like
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bob costas. >> plug what you're doing with mike bloomberg. if you can get one thing done, what would it be? >> it's comprehensive criminal background checks. the system where currently 48% of gun sales are private which means under federal law not regulated. >> no background check whatsoever. >> absolutely not. it's like having two different systems at the airport where 60% go through the metal detector and 40% don't. >> i never heard it described that way. that's great. >> we might as well extend it to all gun sales. >> that's a fascinating argument and you are of course right. >> steve barton and eric fuller, thanks, both of you for coming on the program. >> what does it mean and by it, i mean the second
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tell them it's like being nestled in an eight-way, adjustable, heated and ventilated seat surrounded by a 500-watt sound system while floating on a suspension made of billowy clouds. or you could just hand them your keys. ♪ ♪ >>. >>.
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[ male announcer ] red lobster's crabfest ends soon. hurry in and try five succulent entrees like our tender snow crab paired with savory garlic shrimp. just $12.99. come into red lobster and sea food differently. and introducing 7 lunch choices for just $7.99. salads, sandwiches, and more. our conversation is with you the viewer because we're independent. >>here's how you can connect with "viewpoint with eliot spitzer." >>questions, of course, need to be answered. >>we will not settle for the easy answers. >> a well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. what does that mean? joining me to answer is adam winkler, professor of
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constitutional law. explain it, those few words have sparked controversy dispute explain to us a little bit about the history of the words and how you understand them under current legal jurisprudence in terms of the capacity to impose gun control. >> those words have doubled to americans for a long time. it's as if this wonderful thing the karma was discovered and wanted to put it in there. as a long time, people have been confused. a landmark case, district of columbia versus he willer said americans had rights to bear arms. >> now let's go back in history before heller. when the decision came down, it was considered a fundamental
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shift. having studied the cases the history of the second amendment the comma there the preparatory words are a well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state. people thought well, we'll permit you to own guns as it receipts to the militia not individual use. what would that, the early interpretation and if so, what happened? >> in truth the americans have had the right to bear articles in both state and federal constitutional law for a long time. regardless of the second amendment, virtually every state protects the right of individuals to have guns for personal protection in their state constitution. the founding fathers wrote the second amendment in part because they were fearful of having government completely disarm the citizenry. they also had gun control laws. they didn't view the second amendment as a libertarian license for anyone to have any
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gun anywhere they wanted. >> there were gun control laws way back when, when our founding fathers were drafting these words. what kind of gun limitations were there back then and from the existence of those laws, even if you were an originalist to kind of try to understand and unwrap and figure out what the original drafters meant what could you then discern about the capacity to pass current gun control laws. one thing we know is that the founding fathers regulated guns and who could own them when they thought it was necessary for public safety. the kind of things they thought was necessary we don't grow with anymore. they thought blacks shouldn't have guns and had disdiscriminatory gun laws. the founding fathers barred loyalists, people who refused to swear a loyalty to the revolution to own guns. we are talking about people exercising their freedom of
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conscious to think this was a bad idea to fight the strongest military in the world. they had what we know as an individual mandate the obama health care law they required people to go out and have guns, because they relied on the minute men to go home and be ready to fight in an instant. >> we talked about a couple of months ago when the constitution at of the health care law the individual mandate itself has sort of historical antecedents way back when. one thing that has changed of course is technology. it's one thing to own a musket and another an missile. one thing that did arise in the heller case, the justice recognized that there were qualitative differences that would permit the government to say look, the fact you can bear arms doesn't mean we are going to let you bear any arms or an anti aircraft missile. does that create latitude to say
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we don't want you to have an automatic weapon? >> machine guns have been banned for 30 years. not any weapon is appropriate for self defense in the home. all the supreme court said is that you have a right to have a handgun in your home for self defense. they didn't say you have a right to have any kind of gun like an assault weapon and didn't say you have any right to take that gun out on to the public street and carry it with you. there are still a lot of questions to be answered by the supreme court on the scope of the second alternate. at least today as we understand it it does not ban from limiting magazines. >> background searches, limiting sale of semiautomatics and restrictions on hidden carry you don't think would be barred by the constitution. >> i don't think any of those restrictions are likely to be struck down by the supreme
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court. may be the biggest is the right to carry concealed weapons on the street. the supreme court said the right to bear arms is the right to carry arms but didn't make conditions. it's important to me the supreme court will say the government can require a license for anyone who wants to carry a gun on the street. >> license being the first step toward reasoned gun control. >> coming up, america's lopsided tax code. more and more economists are starting to admit the real problem. >> documentarian of our times on "viewpoint," coming up ahead.
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ssing the central park five his newest film. one of the pieces of evidence that led to the conviction is
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the false confessions. people don't understand why they would confess if they didn't do it. explain. >> these kids were vulnerable. they'd never been in trouble. they were good kids, trying to help. they were in intense interrogations by the finest of new york city's police department for up wards of 30 hours. they're doing things like saying he's there, why don't you go hole. just tell them what they want to hear. you finally think i'm not implicating myself, i'll get out of this. it becomes that circular firing squad that took place there. we don't think it would be done. nobody would confess. this is what happened. it just plowed in and there was nothing, absence of d.n.a., no other forensic evidence, the inconsists nothing, it was those confessions that got them. >> there is a movement in some
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states and i've talked about this in favor to tape record all interrogations, so we can see how this has happened. >> ray kelly the police commissioner has come out in favor of this. what if you started recording not after you get them to sign the statements and the cops are standing behind the prosecutor and saying you're going to say the thing you told us but from the very beginning where the jury is privy to all the tricks the cops are allowed to use saying we have this, we have your d.n.a. these kids were terrified and getting the good cop bad cop. one said they were so angry at me that i was happeningry they would take me out back and kill me. if you have the evidence, then all of a sudden, as a jury, you're suddenly armed with all the fact, not let's turn it on after 30 hours of this 14-year-old kid freaked out thinking what he is signing and saying will get him home when in fact he's going to jail for 17
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years. >> it is that moment when you present the signed confession to the jury but if the jury can't see what led up to it, they don't know how to interpret that and these false confessions mystifying to jurors. >> the process will out. >> we talked about the press not being self critical when these kids were exonerated. >> we accepted it full cloth. 13 years later oh, by wait, we vacated their convictions. at that point, the press should have jump -on this and said we screwed up. they remained silent. it allowed the reactionary forces even though joined the defense in asking for a vacation of the convictions the cops and prosecutors, who's reputations are at stake because if they admitted a mistake god forbid you admit a mistake then what,
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we could put a period at the end of this tragic thing heal the five and their families, but the city. right now the civil suit is almost 10 years old. they've barely gotten to depositions. they've now, the city has now subpoenaed all of our outtakes and notes from this in a cynical attempt to delay, somebody has got to wake up. the mayor has got to look up from his management and say remind me again why we're protecting the reputations of cops and prosecutors who screwed up. point, then we have an opportunity to solve this. this doesn't just help the five, it helps everyone. >> i want you to talk about dust bowl, your most recent documentary about the most egregious human created ecological disaster. >> it comes down to a photograph or john steinbecks, but the
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greatest ecological disaster in american history an pack limbs of hundreds and hundredses of storms that killed crops turned over grass land that never should have been turned over, but their cattle and their children to from dust pneumonia. roosevelt swiped his desk in the oval office and came up with oklahoma. we moved more dirt than excavating the panama canal. >> if we don't tend to it, disasters will occur. >> we're now faced with a drought that's almost as bad as it was back then. we mitigated with things, but if we don't pay attention, we are in deep trouble again. >> the tanker of what we always think will happen is off in the distant future. >> it's a grass hopper, the grass
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Viewpoint With Eliot Spitzer
Current December 4, 2012 5:00pm-6:00pm PST

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